Potter to city: Remain calm
As anxious residents wait nervously in their homes, bracing for a deadly winter storm headed in their direction, city officials in Portland are seeking to reassure them that everything is under control. Nonetheless, the morning commute in the metropolitan area promises to be one of the trickiest in quite some time.
"Everyone should remain calm," Mayor Tom Potter advised in an impromptu press conference televised lived from his neighborhood walking route in southeast Portland. "I'm in charge of the emergency response, and I think those who are sowing fear among the citizenry should just shut up and let me talk. It's going to be a rough couple of days, but we are going to come out of this progressively, and sustainably." To bring his point home, the mayor appeared in pajamas and fuzzy slippers with a to-go cup of brewed Boyd's decaf.
Meanwhile, the city's street crews are operating under temporary management, as transportation Commissioner Sam Adams is still recovering from televised surgery for painful toenail fungus. Daphne Stone, acting director of the bureau, noted that beginning at 9 p.m., the city had begun plowing streets where snow was expected to fall, as a precautionary measure. "We only have two plows, and the guy over on the east side tends to go really slowly," she explained. "And so we're getting an early start on this. We're totally prepared." The city's two sand trucks have been active since midday, spreading gravel in places where snow might fall later, she added.
Tri-Met is operating on a normal schedule at this hour, with an estimated 10 percent of the drivers behaving in a surly manner and 5 percent homicidal.
The rest of the city's transportation staff is working around the clock trying to get the OHSU Health Club aerial tram operating again, after it suddenly stopped in the afternoon, stranding frightened passengers high above the Lair Hill neighborhood. The official explanation was that a 45-mile-an-hour wind gust had tripped a shutdown mechanism on the tram, but critics of the lift were skeptical. One OHSU physician, who requested anonymity out of fear of being treated at the hospital, said the real cause was that the tram is operating on Windows Vista. "I had just gotten done doing a botox on this old gal from Dunthorpe," he told Storm Center 9000, "and after my massage, I was waiting to catch the tram back up the hill to where my Mercedes is parked. I was over by the main control panel and I heard that bad piano chord come out of the computer. Next thing I knew, the screen went blue and there was a whole bunch of gibberish on it about a fatal exception."
A seventh-grade student who was waiting with the doctor eventually got the computer to reboot and guided the tram car back to its station, but when the good Samaritan tried to connect to Microsoft for a Vista update using the city's free wi-fi cloud, the tram stopped operating completely. At last report, the system was still shut down, and engineers from Slovenia are being brought in to assess the problem.
Meanwhile, in Storm Center 9000 weather central, we see that the temperature has plunged to 37 degrees, meaning that the city is a mere five degrees above freezing. If the temperature falls to 32 or below, any water present will freeze. This is believed to be the leading cause of ice, which most scientists agree is slippery. If you encounter ice, keep in mind that it's slick and cold.
Stay tuned for continuous live team coverage of this late winter storm here on bojack.org Storm Center 9000.